News & Updates - 2018 in Review
 Mobile Health Program - A Year of Impact

Experiences from the 2018 Pilot

The Kraft Center's mobile health initiative is about ready to wrap up nearly a year on the streets of Boston, providing clinical care, harm reduction services, and access to addiction treatment for Boston's most vulnerable populations. The program's evaluation is ongoing but the experience of the team thus far indicates that the program is making an important impact. Throughout the pilot, we have been encouraged by the response of both patients and community partners as the program expands access to compassionate, on-demand addiction services.

During the program's first nine months, the outreach team has engaged in over 3,824 contacts with people with substance use disorders. Harm reduction outreach from the van has resulted in distribution of over 1,400 naloxone (Narcan) kits, exchange of sterile needles and syringes, facilitating access to substance use disorder treatment programs, counseling and testing for HIV and hepatitis C, and providing linkages to critical community-based services and programs. The clinical team had 248 patient encounters and additionally provided 131 buprenorphine prescriptions - 69% representing patients returning to the van for refills. 

Based on these promising early findings, the Kraft Center is currently strategizing how to enhance and expand program services as we enter the new year. We are grateful to our partners at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), the Boston Public Health Commission's AHOPE team, the GE Foundation, Hearst Foundation, Partners HealthCare, and the Ford Motor Company for their incredible work and support in making this program such a success!

Mobile Health Initiative receives grant from RIZE Massachusetts

In October 2018, the Kraft Center's mobile health initiative was awarded one of RIZE Massachusetts' Enabling Health: Enhancing Harm Reduction Services in Massachusetts awards. With the support of this two year grant, the program will add new technology and innovative strategies to expand and improve harm reduction services on the van. We are thrilled and honored to receive this award from RIZE MA, and look forward to working with them on this exciting initiative!  For more information on this initiative, click HERE.

Updates: Trefler Cancer Care Equity Initiatives
Celebrating 20 Years of the Trefler Foundation, Left to Right: Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, President and CEO of Dimock Center, a recipient of the Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants; Dr. Elsie Taveras, Executive Director of The Kraft Center; Pamela Trefler, Founder & Chairperson of The Trefler Foundation; Jonathan Kraft, President of The Kraft Group; Joan Quinlan, VP of Community Health at Mass General and Kraft Center Board Member

Trefler Cancer Care Equity Projects
In March, the Kraft Center announced the launch of its next slate of projects aimed at reducing cancer disparities in Massachusetts. With generous support from Pamela and Alan Trefler and The Trefler Foundation, these initiatives aim to improve cancer care equity in underserved communities through community-based engagement and interventions, with a focus on innovative, sustainable solutions. Below are some updates on each of the three projects:

Project 1: Community Engagement and Education in Boston Area Community Health Centers

This project, a collaborative effort between the MGH Cancer Center and Boston Medical Center (BMC) led by Dr. Naomi Ko, aims to increase cancer screening and care capacity at community health centers (CHCs) to reach those who might not otherwise access services through large cancer centers. The program consists of a formal lecture series for staff at participating CHCs developed and executed by program leaders at both MGH and BMC, development of an online portal that provides access to course materials, as well as a means by which CHCs can link directly to oncology specialists at any time. Videos of two lectures are live at this website where the six unique lectures will ultimately be available. Anyone can watch these lectures online to obtain CME credit.

Project 2: Decreasing the Financial Burden of Clinical Trial Participation

This project, led by Dr. Beverly Moy, reimburses travel and lodging costs of clinical trial participation for patients who demonstrate significant financial need. The project also assesses the financial burden of clinical trial participation, illness perceptions, self efficacy, physical & psychological symptoms, and distress. Dr. Moy senior authored a policy statement published in September in the Journal of Clinical Oncology based on the work from this initiative. She was also interviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) CEO Dr. Clifford Hudis for a podcast about the topic, which can be accessed HERE. 

Project 3: Promoting Equity in Cancer Care for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness

This project, led by Dr. Kelly Irwin, aims to increase access to timely, high quality cancer and supportive care for patients with serious mental illness (SMI). To date, the project team has served over 100 patients with SMI and cancer through home visits, in-hospital visits, and community engagement. The team's community mental health navigator recently shared her personal story on serving patients with SMI. On April 12, 2019, the project will hold their 3rd annual Bridging the Divide Symposium that will bring together oncology and mental health clinicians, researchers, policy makers, and patients and families to develop an agenda for change to advance cancer care equity, and make sure mental health is never a barrier to cancer care or research. Please save the date! 

The Kraft Center Hosts Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants Kick-off Meeting

This September, we announced the recipients of the Trefler Cancer Care Equity pilot grants. Three local community health centers - Charles River Community Health, Codman Square Health Center, and the Dimock Center - were awarded $50,000 to launch innovative projects aimed at reducing inequities in cancer care. In November, we welcomed project staff from each participating health center to attend a kick-off meeting to discuss each project along with anticipated outcomes, project measures, and current or anticipated barriers. We are excited to see the positive impact that each project will make in reducing local inequities in the diagnosis, treatment, and mortality of cancer, especially among marginalized populations. Successful projects will be used as models for other community health centers to address inequities in their own neighborhoods. To learn more about the awarded projects, click HERE.
Updates: Obesity Initiatives
First 1,000 Days Program Update

In 2014, with critical support from The Boston Foundation, The Kraft Center launched the First 1,000 Days program, in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, the MGH Chelsea Health Center, MGH Revere Health Care Center, and DotHouse Health. 
The First 1,000 Days program  supports mother-father-infant triads from early pregnancy until the child's second birthday providing counseling and support to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. As of December 2018, the First 1,000 Days program has engaged and supported 1088 families; 84% would recommend the program to others, 82% thought the program met their needs "very well" or "extremely well," and 79% felt the program was helpful in gaining access to resources. A link to program resources can be found HERE.


PCORI Grant Awarded to Expand Effective Childhood Obesity Innovations

Kraft Center ED, Dr. Elsie Taveras, and her team were awarded a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) grant to disseminate and implement the Connect for Health  childhood obesity program. The long-term goal of the study is to reduce the prevalence of obesity and related disparities among low-income children. This will be accomplished through the spread of  Connect for Health to community health centers across Massachusetts, Colorado, and South Carolina. To learn more about this initiative, read HERE.
Kraft Fellow, Dr. Ben Bearnot, Receives Multiple Honors for his Research
Kraft Fellow, Dr. Benjamin Bearnot, received the Best Oral Abstract Award at the 2018 Society of General Internal Medicine New England Regional Meeting. He was recognized for his abstract "Geospatial Distribution of Discarded Needles in Boston, Massachusetts: Using Publicly Available Data to Target Responses to the Opioid Epidemic." Ben also has received the American Society of Addiction Medicine Abstract Submission Award: Best Overall, for his work, "The Frequency and Geospatial Distribution of Publicly Discarded Needles in Boston, MA." Ben practices primary care at MGH Charlestown and is a 2nd Year Fellow in the Kraft Center Fellowship Program. For more information on these accomplishments, visit HERE. Congratulations, Ben!
Health Career Connection Intern - Summer 2018
Craig Regis, Kraft Center program manager (Left) with Kene Aniagboso, HCC intern (Right)
This summer, the Kraft Center hosted intern Kene Aniagboso through the Health Career Connection (HCC) program. Kene is a student at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, as well as an alumna of the MGH Youth Scholars Program. Kene contributed to several Kraft Center initiatives, working on projects ranging from early childhood health to addiction services. She also spent one day per week with the MGH Pharmacy where she is now employed! The Kraft Center staff appreciates all of her great work and wishes her the best of luck!
Alumni Spotlight: Maggie Beiser
Kraft Center alum, Maggie Beiser, was featured in Wicked Local Watertown for her work in eliminating hepatitis C in Boston's homeless population. Maggie, a nurse practitioner at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, has been working to ensure that all patients have access to effective treatments that can clear the virus and protect them from long term health effects such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Medication for hepatitis C used to be toxic and intensive with only modest cure rates, which made treatment programs difficult to implement in the homeless population. In 2014, the FDA approved the first one-pill-a-day hepatitis C treatment, and Maggie and her team set to work making sure their patients had access to this new treatment. After over 4 years, Maggie and her team have treated over 550 patients with a cure rate that exceeds 90%!  Their work was published and demonstrates that hepatitis C treatment programs can be effective in successfully treating homeless populations.

We at the Kraft Center are so proud of Maggie's leadership and dedication in ensuring that our most vulnerable populations have access to effective and compassionate treatment and care. To read Wicked Local Watertown's feature, please click HERE.
Executive Director, Dr. Elsie Taveras, Featured in MGH's Charged Podcast
In October, Kraft Center Executive Director, Dr. Elsie Taveras, sat down with host Amy Wicks of the MGH podcast Charged to discuss her interest in  bridging gaps in healthcare and how she has striven throughout her career to understand and prevent childhood obesity and health disparities. She also highlights the important role of communities in individual health and why she encourages parents to explore their communities to find solutions to support healthy behaviors to model for their children. To hear this episode of Charged, click HERE.
MGH VP of Community Health, Joan Quinlan, featured in the Harvard Gazette
To effectively treat patients, providers must understand and address the social factors such as poverty, environment, education, and others that have substantial impacts on a person's health. Fifty years ago, Mass General opened its first community health center in Charlestown which sits directly within the community and brings an understanding of the community to treat and serve its patients.

MGH Charlestown celebrated its 50th anniversary in October, and the celebration was featured in the Harvard Gazette. In the article, Kraft Center board member and Vice President of Community Health at MGH, Joan Quinlan, highlights the importance of social determinants of health and community input in best serving patients. " We have to listen to the community and address the community's concerns about all the things that affect health," says Quinlan. To read the full article, click HERE.
Updates from our Kraft Center Alumni
Alumni from The Kraft Fellowship and Practitioner Programs have proceeded to leave their impressive mark on the field of Community Health. We wanted to highlight some of their updates, including notable publications, career moves, and other personal news.  We encourage all Kraft Center alumni to send us updates so we can showcase your great work and share your stories! Please reach out to for details.

Amy Harrington, MD, CPE, FAPA: Amy completed her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in September! Her project was on using telemedicine to address the medical needs of people admitted to the addiction continuum at Community Healthlink. The same month, Amy also gave birth to daughter Natalie Elena! Congratulations, Amy!

Lauren Graber, MD, MPH: Lauren recently moved to Minneapolis and is working at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in St. Paul. West Side Community Health Services (soon to be renamed Minnesota Community Care) is the largest FQHC in the state and services the largest number of uninsured patients. It also services a large population of undocumented patients. In addition to seeing patients, she is the Medical Director of Population Health Management and Clinical Community Partnerships. Lauren's work in Trauma-Informed Group Well Child Care was recently published in the Journal for Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma (below), and their curriculum was published online HERE. Congratulations on this great work, Lauren!

Parent Perspectives on the Use of Group Well-Child Care to Address Toxic Stress in Early Childhood.  Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 2018.

Mark Viron, MD: Mark is transitioning from his role at Massachusetts Mental Health Center to serve as the Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services at Advocates in Framingham. Congratulations on your new position, Mark!

Ebonie Woolcock, MD, MPH: Ebonie recently joined the faculty at Boston Medical Center and, in 2019, she will be the Associate Clerkship Director for Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine. Congratulations, Ebonie!

Recent Publications:

Audrey Provenzano, MD, MPH: Becoming a Caregiver - Lessons from My Dad. New England Journal of Medicine, 2018.
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